Halls Across America

Two adults, a twenty-something, two teenagers and two rabbits get into a car… and the rest is one long punchline.

Category: amateur hour

CA to MA, by the numbers

Number of Halls in our party when we left: (including bunnies)

Days on the road: 17

Number of hotels slept in: 11

Number of states visited: 13 (CA, NV, ID, WY, SD, MN, WI, IL, IN, OH, PA, CT, MA)

Total miles traveled: 3,732.6

Truck’s approximate average mpg: (8 without drafting, 10 with drafting)

Approximate number of Friends episodes watched in the car: 1,000,000

Number of Halls in our party when we arrived: (including a couple of Hall progenitors we picked up in Connecticut)


Casualties of the trip

We’ve arrived in sunny Massachusetts! (Darn, I have to relearn how to confidently spell Massachusetts.) And now, a moment of silence for the things we’ve lost along the way:

  • Amanda’s iPhone’s home button functionality
  • One of Amanda’s Friends DVDs
  • Those two pieces of French toast that Ali accidentally put vinegar on thinking it was syrup
  • That baked potato Kim put tartar sauce on
  • Healthy eating habits
  • Many hours of sleep
  • Some of Ali’s ear flesh
  • Kim’s toenail

And finally,

  • The wallpaper under the sink at the Ramada Inn in Indianapolis. Apparently ugly wallpaper is like crack to rabbits.

Oh, you want me to marvel at the same scenery we’ve been driving past for the last eight hours?


No thanks, I’m pretty busy.


p.s. Shout out to Grandma Hall for the blankie!

Amateur packing lesson: How to tell if something is garbage

  • If the question is “What is this?” then the answer is always “garbage.”
  • If it doesn’t have sentimental value, and it’s not an essential document, and you haven’t touched it in the last year, it’s garbage.
  • If it belongs to someone else and that someone isn’t looking, it’s garbage.
  • If you shudder with horror upon making physical contact with it, it’s garbage.
  • If you don’t feel like packing it or hauling it to Goodwill, and no one in your general vicinity wants to adopt it, it’s garbage. [Corollary: if you do haul it to Goodwill and they won’t take it, it’s garbage.]

Needless to say, we had a lot of garbage. Alissa, whom Amanda symbolically dubbed “knight of garbage” with a giant fake sword that Andrew insisted wasn’t garbage, will gladly back up that statement.

6 laws of amateur moving preparation

(Note: They are unwaveringly rigid.)

  1. The 2-3-4 Law: You always have 2x as much stuff as you think; the process will cost 3x as much as you think; and packing will take you 4x as long as you think.
  2. The Helping Hands Law: A select few true American heroes will step up to help, and you will astonish them with your inefficacy and lack of preparedness. You will inevitably and unintentionally overstep the bounds of their kindness due to the aforementioned inefficacy and lack of preparedness.
  3. The Frozen Pizza/Burrito Law: The only thing better than friends showing up with food when you’re hungry? Friends showing up with food before you even realize you’re hungry.
  4. A modified version of Murphy’s Law applies: Everything that can go wrong (and a few things you wouldn’t imagine could possibly go wrong) will. See related post: First day of travel, by the numbers.
  5. Realtors’ Law: The number of prospective renters who are paraded through your rental property while you’re still hauling garbage out of it is directly proportional to the number of extra days you take to pack up your junk. Their main purpose is to bear witness to your shame.
  6. The “F-word” Law: Your new best friend is the “f” word: FFFFFFFFlexibility.

How to move a family of five across the country with your sanity intact

Steps 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5: Hire someone else to do it.

Because trying to do everything yourself will make you feel like this:



Of course, hindsight’s 20/20. Read on and enjoy learning from our mistakes.